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Wang Peng 王鵬 1
Wang Peng at the entrance to his factory south of Beijing 2 
Wang Peng is the best known guqin maker in China today. After several years of making qins at home, around the year 2006 he established a factory at 魏善莊 Weishanzhuang, south of Beijing. By 2008 he was making over 20 qins a month there. In the ensuing years the numbers increased considerably. Most of them have nylon-wrapped metal strings, as this is what the market demands. However, he says that he also makes instruments specifically designed for silk strings, and to my knowledge was at that the only qin maker who made this claim. Since then he has also established a performance center and school there for learning qin. Most encouragingly, when I visited Weishanzhuang in 2008 he showed me a room he has set aside for making silk strings himself, "beginning next year". (Update, instead he went into a partnership with Marusan Hashimoto, though this apparently ended in 2017.)

For performances I feel very comfortable using the Wang Peng banana leaf qin (焦葉琴 jiaoye qin) I bought from him ca. 200, depicted below. At the end behind the tuning pegs there is typically a protrusition looking something like a banana stem. I always found this awkward when tuning and then one day it broke off. When Wang Peng repaired this I asked him to leave off that stem.

My other main qins for performance are older ones by He Mingwei and newer ones by Tong Kin-Woon.

                    The bottom and top of an early banana leaf qin by Wang Peng  


1. Wang Peng 王鵬
Wang Peng has said that the main differences between his qins for use with silk strings are in three areas:

  1. Wood for metal string qins can be thicker than that for silk string qins
  2. The top surface of a metal string qin should be a bit flatter than that for a silk string qin (nylon metal strings do not vibrate as fully)
  3. The shape of the sound box is somewhat different

Regarding the third point, to my knowlede Wang Peng has never included the two sound posts (tianzhu and dizhu). Instead, fairly early on, he began making the top board thicker under the lower strings than under the upper ones; later this difference became so pronounced that usually the hand cannot be put through the main sound hole towards the lower-string side.

2. It used to be in the countryside, but Beijing has since expanded greatly. (Return)